Chris has just been editing the video for this dreamy one pan dinner, and after watching several clips of that creamy-cheesy sauce, we both agreed I need to make it again.
Let's talk Alfredo.
I'm gonna look like a bit of a dumb-ass here - but I really thought Alfredo originated in the USA. The first time I heard of it, it was for a copycat version of Olive Garden's Alfredo. And we all know Olive garden is an American chain.
When I looked into it more, recipes for this glorious creation were mostly on US websites.
Alfredo isn't something I've seen on the menu at Italian restaurants in the UK, so that further confirmed my suspicions (and trust me, the pasta section is the first one I look at in any Italian restaurant).
Carbonara is the only menu item that even comes vaguely close in terms of creamy spaghetti – and I’m sure any Italian would curse me for suggesting there’s any similarity between carbonara and alfredo (I agree!!!).
I didn’t even see it on our holiday to Italy last year.
So I was pretty surprised when my research showed me that Alfredo did originate in Italy – in 1914 by a man named Di Lelio, who made it to please his pregnant wife. She was feeling nauseous (ergh, I remember those morning sickness days well!), so he made her plain fetticine pasta with a little butter and parmesan. A simple dish with no scary, strong flavours.
I think it’s fair to say that the Italian-American version, and indeed my version, is very far removed from that original dish!
Version of this One Pot Rigatoni Alfredo with Chicken and Kale has parmesan, and a form of pasta. That’s as close as it gets!
Nevertheless, the creamy fettucine-based dish that’s so well known today is closer to my version. I’m just changing it up a little because:
- I was in the mood for rigatoni (rigatoni and spirali are my favourites – probably because they take more sauce!!)
- I saw some Cavolo Nero in the shop – which if you haven’t had it before, is a form of kale, but like kale Mark II. Darker, stronger and prettier. I had to include it in my alfredo.
- I wanted to save on the washing up - so a one pan version was definitely called for!
Throw some chicken in there, plenty of cream and garlic, then lots and lots of parmesan, and you have the perfect sitting-in-front-of-the-tele-watching-Game-Of-Thrones dinner. (OMG did you see it!!! I love that program almost as much as pasta!!)
If you're a fan of one-pot meals how about one of these too:
The Alfredo Chicken One Pot Pasta with Kale and Rigatoni Recipe:
One Pot Rigatoni Alfredo with Chicken and Kale
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 chicken breasts - chopped into bite-size chunks
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 small onion - peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic - peeled and crushed
- 7 oz (250g) dried rigatoni pasta
- 2/3 cup (160ml) homemade or good quality chicken stock
- 2 cups (480ml) whole/full fat milk
- 1/2 cup (120ml) double (heavy) cream
- 2.5 oz (70g) Cavolo Nero kale - roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup (75g) Parmesan - grated
- pinch black pepper
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan (skillet) on a medium heat. Add the chicken, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for approx 6-7 minutes, turning regularly until browned and just cooked through.
- Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Cover with foil to keep warm.
- Add the chopped onions to the pan and fry gently for a couple of minutes until the onions start to go translucent. Add in the garlic, stir and cook for 30 seconds. Then add in the pasta, stock and milk. Bring to a simmer, stir, then cover with a lid or foil. Turn down the heat and cook gently for 10 minutes.
- Remove the foil and stir in the cream and all but 2 tbsp of Parmesan. Add the kale, cover again and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the kale has wilted.
- Add the reserved chicken, stir and allow to bubble for a couple of minutes to allow the chicken to warm through.
- Sprinkle on the remaining parmesan, then sprinkle on a pinch of black pepper and fresh parsley before serving.
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